AD, BC, 37C—One Million Years "BCE", With Pictures
March 07, 2011, 03:30 PM
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Historian Clayton Cramer has a post up  on Pajamas Media on AD and BC, now known as BCE in a textbook he's using.(We've covered BCE ourselves.)

"But there is one aspect of the new book that just makes me roll my eyes: they insist on using BCE/CE — and devote two pages to a discussion justifying the use of them.

...

Among the justifications the textbook offers for using BCE/CE is that “BC and AD were not used regularly until the end of the eighteenth century. BCE and CE became common in the late twentieth century.” Hmmm. When I searched for “Anno Domini” in books published before 1700, I found 51,700 results. Considering the number of books published before 1700, that’s pretty amazing. (The Latin equivalent of BC, ante Christum natum, is, admittedly, far less common.) More importantly, when precisely did BCE become “common” in the late twentieth century? I suppose if you were writing for a history journal, or for an audience that included large numbers of people who do not regularly use BC/AD, then using politically correct terminology such as BCE/CE makes sense — but in a freshman college text intended for the North American market? No.

It’s not even as if the new abbreviations are really more inclusive. BCE and CE are exactly the same years as BC and AD. They are still putting a stake in the ground around the guessed year of birth of Jesus of Nazareth, and measuring time relative to that same year. The only way in which this qualifies as “multicultural” is that it will not offend any prickly Jews, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, or others upset that you are “privileging” Christianity by saying AD instead of some freshly minted abbreviation capable of doing nothing more than signaling one’s sensitivities.  (The prickly forms of most of these groups seem to exist more in the fever swamp imaginations of academics than anywhere that I have ever been.)

Yet, the conscious decision to change over will offend the still-large majority of Americans who culturally or religiously identify themselves as Christians."

But nobody cares about them.


The Pajamas Media  post is illustrated with a tiny picture of the famous, even iconic poster of Raquel Welch in One Million Years B. C. Here's a larger version, from the Daily Mail, which reports that Ms. Welch still looks almost as good as she did in 1967.

I am posting the above in deference to Robert Stacy McCain's Rule 5, specifically the part that says "All politics all the time gets boring after a while."